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Trouts Journal

Photo Essay - Visiting the Winston Rod Factory

Ivan Orsic / Nov 13, 2018

After dropping by the SIMMS facility last week, I headed deeper into southwestern Montana trout country to some truly hallowed ground - Twin Bridges, Montana. Not only does Twin Bridges sit at the confluence of the Beaverhead, the Ruby, and the Big Hole Rivers, but it is also home to a fly rod company with one of the richest heritages in the world of fly fishing - R.L. Winston Rod Company. Founded in 1929, R.L. Winston Rod Company - under the ownership of the legendary Tom Morgan - moved to Twin Bridges, Montana in 1976. With a rich history of producing some of the best fly rods in the world, R.L. Winston Rod Company is the only fly rod company to utilize a boron/graphite composite to build their fly rods.

While this is a company rich in tradition, when I walked into their current rod building facility, I was struck by how intimate and "small-scale" the entire operation seemed. The term "small-scale" might be construed in a negative light, but it shouldn't be. It's impressive to me that a company can produce such high-quality rods and maintain that small business feel. With 45 employees (25 of which work on site and 20 of which are at home rod wrappers), Winston produces a wide spectrum of fly rods with applications from small stream to expansive flats. Start to finish, the production of a Winston Rod takes about 3 weeks and each of the in-house employees touches each rod section 3 to 6 times depending on their respective jobs. That level of specialization and hands-on involvement with the production of these fly rods was impressive to say the least. Without further adieu, let's get to the photos.

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